"Punk rock should be retired," announced Kevin Lyman at Brooklyn's House of Vans on Friday night. Wait, what? When the founder and producer of the now 17-year-old summer punk festival makes a bold statement like that, people might assume the worst. But Lyman, speaking at Greenpoint's newish skate park/concert venue, was just suggesting the term was limited -- and the spirit of the music remains, as this year's Warped Tour announcements proved. Besides featuring a mainly non-major label line-up and slightly larger forays into electronic, pop and reggae (full line-up is here), Lyman announced a number of new initiatives for the fest, including free water stations, prepaid meal plans, a Warped-specific radio station, a greater tie-in with Vans stores for tickets and artist in-store appearances, and more.
The kick-off event was its own spectacle, featuring appearances by the Vans Skate Team, a live graffiti art performance by visual artist Kaves and musical performances from the upcoming Warped Tour artists Lionize, Moving Mountains, MC Lars, The Wonder Years, and, most impressively, the School of Rock kids, who handled "Ring of Fire" and Pennywise's "Bro Hymn" with equal aplomb.--Kirk Miller